Artists’ impression of OCEAN COUNTESS in Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ livery. Courtesy CMV.
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Majestic International’s MV OCEAN COUNTESS, completed in 1976 as CUNARD COUNTESS, is currently ablaze at Chalkis, where she has been laid up since her most recent charter to U.K.-based Cruise and Maritime Voyages. The ship was scheduled to return to cruise service in 2014 but this now looks unlikely as aerial video footage shows her superstructure fully engulfed in flames.
The 17,593 gt vessel operated for Cunard from 1976 through 1996 until sold to Awani Cruises to operate in Indonesian waters as the AWANI DREAM II. In 1998, she was sold to Royal Olympic Cruises and renamed OLYMPIC COUNTESS. When ROC shut down in 2004, the ship was sold to Majestic International and renamed OCEAN COUNTESS, operating under charter to various entities, from Louis (taking on the name RUBY for the 2007 season to replace SEA DIAMOND) to Monarch Classic, Quail and Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
The cause of the fire is thus far not known but the damage appears to be extensive. Five workers were safely evacuated from the ship. More as the story unfolds.